Tag Archives: Style

Fly Read: What’s In A Name? Girl Changes Name From ‘Keisha’ To ‘Kylie’

5 Nov

black n proud

My article was written after reading the linked story from Necole Bitchie.

http://necolebitchie.com/2013/11/05/whats-in-a-name-girl-changes-name-from-keisha-to-kylie/#more-257135

Another day- another story of a black person assimilating to appease white people.

Tupac rapped in Keep Ya Head Up: “I remember Marvin Gaye used to sing to me/He had me feelin’ like black was the thing to be.” Do black people even feel this way anymore? Or are we so hell-bent on assimilating that we are losing ourselves? Long gone are the days where black people were unashamedly and unapologetically black. There was a sense of pride in our blackness, now it feels as if we would do anything to remove ourselves from our blackness.

I can’t speak for the girl in this story linked above because it’s clear that she doesn’t understand black culture, her mom is white and there is no mention of her father so it’s understandable that there is no sense of pride in her name because she has no black figures in her life. I am more so upset about the comments I read that showcase black people agreeing with assimilation. Some black people want to be accepted so bad that they will forgo their culture to get ahead. Why is it that we must choose carefully in naming our children? It’s another form of discrimination and I am sick of black people being guilted into changing who we are to appease a white power structure.

We can’t even buy a belt with our own money without being accosted by police and some black people have the nerve to say, “well, it’s Barneys, I would be suspicious too.” Ask yourself why are you suspicious of your own buying power? We have to get some pride back into ourselves and really own our blackness. We should not be ashamed of a name or the perception that comes along with it. Don’t be the kind of black person who is cool with being black until it inconveniences you.

True story: I was getting off the megabus last Sunday from spending the weekend in New York and while I was waiting for my ride and this white guy came up to me asked me if I’m blasian. I said, “no I’m black.” He goes, “you look blasian.” I continued with, “no, both of my parents are black.” Now I don’t get this all the time but occasionally I do get asked if I am black and asian and while some might be flattered by the assumption, I am not. The assumption is that I must be mixed with something to look “exotic” but I don’t want anyone to get it twisted; I am a proud black woman and I will not down play the fact that we come in all different shapes and sizes and we are just as exotic as the next chick.

We are in the days where black people see nothing wrong with forsaking their culture, their people, their history and lineage- all for the sake of getting a job, climbing up the ladder and being accepted. They are telling us that our names, money and hair aren’t acceptable to them and some of us are agreeing and falling in line with our tail between our legs. The reality is that no matter how “ghetto” you think your name is or how “safe” you believe your name is  – it won’t change the character of a racist.

Ask President Barack Hussein Obama

 

 

Carla Thomas

Writer and fly girl

Twitter: @flycarla

Facebook: www.facebook.com/madstyleandgrace

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Fly Read: Miley, You Are Not About That Life

29 Oct

miley

I had no idea that I would ever write a story about Hannah Montana. This Miley movement has turned the internet on its head; the 20-year-old daughter of Mr. Achy Breaky Heart is making headlines. I have multiple opinions about Miley Cyrus, some in which have changed about her and then viewing her document on MTV, some of my opinions have stayed the same.

Here is a young woman to whom some believe, a: has grown up and is now wilding out hoping to shed her Disney image, b: the new outburst of nude photos/videos and vulgar tongue pictures are strategic career moves and c: that she is making a mockery of the black community by taking “twerking” and running with it- or twerking with it. I believe this new Miley the movement is all of the above but sadly I also believe that every time a white person does something “black” it crosses over to mainstream quicker than a singular twerk.

As a woman of color I’m not saying that twerking is exclusive to black people or even hip-hop, but for once can we get the credit when the credit is due without having to sell-out or “cross-over”? I look at Mike Will Made It who is fairly young, he is 24 and think it may possibly be that the younger generation sees past color lines and just want to create. But when he says things such as, “rappers aren’t always authentic, rappers lie,” to explain his working with Miley as said in an interview on Sway in the Morning, it’s as if he is trying to justify the fraudulent sound that he is creating with Miley.

I assume when someone wants to sound “black” when they aren’t, they are looking for a specific sound that is exclusive to black people. And if you are a lily white girl from middle America who grew up on Disney and whose Godmother is Dolly Parton, it is hard to justify the authenticity of her new sound. Or image. It’s as if she is trying to one up Rihanna or Teyana Taylor by pushing the sexy/raunchy/edgy envelope and it does come across as a young woman who is wilding out or trying to infiltrate into this edgy hip-pop bubble that Rihanna is queen of or ultimately the hip-hop culture.

When I spoke with Michaela Angela Davis, image activist, she explained when white people do something pertaining to a cultural shift, it’s bigger, “it’s just America,” she stated. “You take black music, culture and put it in a white body, it’s huge, it’s always have been,” Davis continued. The questions arise: why? And why do we seemingly allow them to be bigger than us when are the driving force? I say we allow them because we co-sign their actions for the sake of a paycheck. Would Miley still twerk if Juicy J said, “naw sweetie, I’mma get the twerk team or Caramel Kitten to come on stage” or what if Mike Will Made It put Teyanna Taylor on the song 23 since she is known for her tomboy swag? It seems that for the sake of the all mighty dollar we will bypass our own talented artists and put on the white girl or another white artist and then try to justify our actions by saying, Miley is about that life. “She smokes purp, I’ve seen her,” Mike Will Made It continued in his Sway in the Morning interview. Right, because smoking weed is exclusive to black people but hip-hop isn’t.

I spoke with Kristina Thomas, co-executive producer of the web-series, Losing It, who compared Miley’s actions to the act of black face and that black people are helping her. “Mike Will Made It knows how to get money, he is not a fool. He is making money off a white girl who is trying to be made,” Thomas stated. Thomas continued saying that latinas and white girls are replacing black women and that black women are no longer in and black artists/ producers are helping with the replacement of black women in the arts. “There must be a line drawn, how far do you go? How do you just sell yourself?” Thomas asked. Thomas’ thoughts on Miley’s rapping in the song 23? “MJ just threw up in his mouth,” she said. “Where was  Teyana Taylor? Or Ciara?”

Davis had the best answers for Thomas’ questions. Davis said there is something provocative about crossing over into mainstream for black artists. “It’s about being a player in the game, you want your play and your playing space,” Davis stated. She continued by stating that she doesn’t believe it’s about selling out but more of business. “This is not about selling out, it’s about making records and there are levels to fame.” To make hot records, “why wouldn’t an artist get a hot black producer?” Davis questioned.

Tamara Johnson, fashion enthusiast, leans more towards the ideal that Miley is being used and they are using her so cunningly that she thinks being naked on a wrecking ball is her idea. “These producers know what they are doing, they are interested in getting a different type of money,” Johnson stated. I asked Johnson if they are getting their money but cheapening the black culture and Johnson replied, “Absolutely, she is being manufactured. There is nothing organic or authentic about this new Miley.” Johnson went on the compare Miley to a bootleg bottle of salad dressing. “You know you can walk into Wal-Mart and get the store brand of ranch or you can get the Kraft ranch, one has more favor,” Johnson stated.

All the ladies interviewed did not hate on Miley but they actually expressed genuine concern for her well-being. Thomas stated, “I want her to win, we should all want women to win, we just hope that they win in the right way.” I agreed. I love to see a woman utilize their talents in order to gain success. I however cannot get with the lack of appreciation of black expression and black culture. It’s as if black people cannot ineptly create in the level that Miley can. Davis explained this theory to me, “using Pharrell and Mike Will Made It on her album means we are driving the culture. We are gaining positioning; we are gaining power. This isn’t new. The difference is the visibility, we now know who artists are working with, not like where Elvis Presley stole our sound, this is progression.”

I want more progression, yes, we have Rihanna,  Nicki Minaj and King Beyonce but that isn’t enough for me. I want more faces that look like me on the big screen, on television and more brown faces being able to create a movement like Miley. The thing is that no matter how hard Miley tries, black people will always be cooler. She may hang with Juicy J, she may have switched her Sketchers for Jays but she will never have that authentic coolness that blacks have. She can throw on her Jordans and wear the shortest jersey ever with a backwards snapback all she wants, the truth is she will never have swagger like us.

I remember at the top of the year I was covering the back stage beauty trends at New York Fashion Week for Vibe Vixen and as I was talking to the designers, make up artists and hair stylists who were forecasting next year’s trends, they couldn’t stop fawning over my hair and nails. Here are the industry “insiders” looking at my style. I remember leaving one tent and this security guard goes, “you leaving already? You’re taking all the favor.” Sometimes I believe that black people forget that we are the trendsetters, some of us are so focused on assimilating for that Miley money, that we forget that we are authentically cool on a level that cannot be duplicated. If we can just remember how fly and fabulous we naturally are, I believe we can be movement without taking our sound and giving a white face. In this case, Miley, I’mma let you finish but you’re not cooler than me.

Carla Thomas

Writer and Fly Girl

Find me on Twitter: @flycarla

Fly Fashion: The Nicki Minaj Collection – Kmart

11 Oct

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I don’t know about you but I love a good bargain and I had no qualms with heading to K-Mart to check out Nicki Minaj’s latest endeavor. The K-Mart around my way didn’t carry Nicki’s entire line as some of the shelves were bare but what I did see was promising. This isn’t a line for the timid or working women, but if Nicki’s goal was to create a line for her core audience than she definitely succeeded. This line is filled with loungewear and club clothes that hug curves. I tried on the jeans and honestly they fit like a glove, they had a high waist which hide my tummy and the back of the jeans didn’t gap like most jeans do. In fact the jeans are made to showcase your bum, the waist is high but the back of the jeans sit low, they go perfect with her crop tops. She also offered faux leather panel leggings, body con dresses, pink and cobalt blue blazers, netted sweaters and her signature captain hats.

Her accessories were on trend with cuff bracelets, collar choker necklaces and stud earrings and faux leather wrap bracelets. The hats are kinda cheesy as the material is vinyl and the off-the shoulder sweater with a jeweled diamond was giving me JC Penny little girl tease. Overall I think Nicki truly designed for her fans, this line isn’t for everyone but the same chicks who wear her perfume will probably love this line. The material is on par with Forever 21 pieces and the price is totally affordable. If matching your leggings to your jacket isn’t your style or rocking a captain hat with black and pink panel leggings, then skip this line. As a business woman who understand her niche market, I totally tip my captain hat off to Nicki.

Available at K-Mart, $4.99- $29.99

The Fly Girl Guide is changing! Be in the know NOW!

4 Oct

Hi Dolls!

@FLYCARLA here and I have missed updating The Fly Girl Guide but I am still writing and I have great things in the works! I am starting a new website called Style and Grace and it will launch in about a month. Style and Grace is a delightful blend of high- fashion and Christianity. Although I loved updating my fly girls with the latest fashion new, sample sale drama and parties, I wanted to change it up and create something more meaningful.

Until the launch, I still have great things to hold my fly girls over. I have a radio show called Style and Grace radio that takes place every Monday at 10:00AM on www.blogtalkradio.com/styleandgrace. The show is archived so if you can’t listen to it live, you can listen to the show at your leisure. It’s a 30-minute talk show where I pray for my listeners, read scriptures and speak on matters of the heart. It’s a great motivational and inspirational show to help my ladies get through each week with style and grace.

I also started a text message subscription service where I send out daily original inspirational messages to help uplift my sisters in Christ. The messages are funny and REAL! I only send out messages that weigh on my heart! I send out scriptures or quotes to help my ladies laugh and think. It’s free to receive my messages and I only send out ONE message a day. To opt-in text styleandgrace to 555888.

So until the launch of my website please reach out to me via my radio show and subscribe to my Style and Grace text message service. You can also find me on Twitter: @flycarla, Instagram: flycarla and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/madstyleandgrace

I also want to my pray for my ladies! Send prayer requests to madstyleandgrace@gmail.com

Let’s keep in touch and please pray for me as I launch this new endeavor!

Get at me:
Carla@madstyleandgrace.com

Be blessed fly ladies!

XOXO,

Carla Thomas

Fly Read: The seriousness of one’s intent

11 Jun

A close friend of mine recently posted a quote from Anthony Bourdian that stated, “the journey is part of the experience- an expression of the seriousness of one’s intent. One doesn’t take the A train to Mecca.” This quote really resonated with me because my intent of studying writing and than traveling to Africa to teach writing is very serious.

The objective of this educational/missionary trip is to learn as much as possible so that I can give as best as possible.  The course at Yale University will help me revise my pilot television script and the course at the University of Cambridge will assist in the finishing of my fiction book for teenage girls. With both projects I am looking to re-shift the perception of Black girls and Black women via the media, I am developing projects that will showcase the full-dimension of Black teenage girls and Black women.

There is a problem in the media where it seems that networks are keen on showcasing Black women in one dimension, a dimension that strips the soul and the deep rooted history of African American women by showing only superficial, overtly sexually, and angry Black women. Black women are the capstone of American history and argumentatively the strongest persons of mankind. The strength and the depth and the pride of being unashamedly and apologetically Black needs to be displayed in the media and I am hoping to showcase the aforementioned.

I am specifically hoping to reach teenage Black girls from the ages 12-18 with my fictional book series starting with the first book tentatively titled, The Fly Girl Guide To The 6th Grade. This book which I am currently on the third chapter of is a division of my online website, The Fly Girl Guide (www.theflygirlguide.com). It will serve as an alternative look at middle school and high school in the eyes of a young girl who is seeking to navigate middle school and high school with an independent thought and with style and grace.

My television script has a similar concept showcasing a Black professional woman living and thriving in Brooklyn, New York. What Living Single showcased in the 90’s, I am looking to reinvent with a new aged twist. Black women are spiritual, funny, educated and married and I am hoping to show a narcissistic generation who loves bathroom pictures and relishes in all that is ratchet that being a lady will never go out of style.

This campaign is bigger than me; it’s for the moms who have to explain to their daughters that she shouldn’t aspire to be just a basketball wife, it’s for the aunties who have to explain that Kim Kardashian isn’t a role model, it’s the for the teachers who have to discuss why Michelle Obama is an inspiration as opposed to a pop star.

My intent is to make sure the media takes Black girls and women serious as not all of us are trying to put on a minstrel show. We are mothers, wives, friends and we are fly.

I’m not asking you to go broke, I just ask for a little support to help with a big cause.

http://www.gofundme.com/flycarla

Fly Read: Like Beyonce, I’m a GROWN WOMAN

21 May
Beyonce just released her “Grown Woman” song and as I’m listening to the song I think of all the grown woman decisions I am currently making. I’ve made a decision to leave a city that I love to create the life I wish to live. I’ve decided to pack up everything, station myself in Baltimore and use the next seven months to travel and write. This is void of others expectations, void of what some of my friends think I should be doing, and void of what my parent’s believe I should be doing. To me being a grown woman is having an independent thought, an independent thought is a thought that a woman makes without the influence of others, the media and pop culture.

A grown woman knows that not everyone is rooting for her, a grown woman knows that some of the people close to her will doubt her and while there will be MORE obstacles stepping out of her comfort zone, it will be well worth it. A grown woman knows there is nothing cute about playing it safe or playing small for the sake of others, she knows that there is nothing fulfilling about not seeking to be fulfilled. A grown woman knows that if it is in God’s will and she is abiding in Him, that the possibilities are endless.

Some women are walking around grown in age but still mentally and spiritually little girls. As for me, I’m getting my grown woman on.

www.gofundme.com/flycarla

Fly Fashion: 10 Non- Clothing Items Every Fly Girl Should Own

28 Mar

As a fly girl, you must think outside of the box and your closet. Being fly means you pay attention to the little details that make you stand out from the crowd, it’s the added thought to the small things that shows you truly have style.

gym
1. Gym membership– You have a closet full of clothes, you might as well look your best in them. Keep that figure tight!

2. Flask– Because girls with class don’t need a glass.

  Kate Spade New York Pop Art Check Umbrella


Kate Spade New York
Pop Art Check Umbrella

3. Umbrella– Face the bad weather with style.

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4. Tool Box– Hang your own Warhol with pink tools.

5. Wine Glasses– Red wine deserves a red wine glass and white wine deserves a white glass. You’re grown; you should know the difference and have proper glassware for every occasion.

Shoes Stationery from Paper Source

Shoes Stationery from Paper Source

6. Stationary– Send sweet nothings or say thank you with your own personalized stationary. In an era of Facebook and email, something personal goes a long way.

7. Pen– Ditch the BIC and invest in a good pen.

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8. iPhone– Sorry folks, you get judged by your phone so upgrade now. I mean, there are twelve-year-olds who own one, so you should too.

9. Sewing kit– Every fly girl should know how to sew on a button or fix a small tear, save your money and do-it- yourself.

Shark Press and Refresh Garment Steamer

Shark Press and Refresh Garment Steamer

10. Steamer– For those impromptu events when you need to be on your cocktail dress sh*t but don’t have time to take it the cleaners. A garment cleaner will have your dress party ready in no time.

The Weekend Guide

15 Mar

Cheers to the freakin’ weekend! Here’s my fly curated list of the top activities you should check out this weekend.

Friday:

Foxy: The Complete Pam Grier Collection:

Pam-Grier

Starting today and through Sunday, the Film Society of Lincoln Center is screening all of iconic film and TV star Pam Grier’s movies. Grier will also be appearing at a few of the screenings, including tonight’s  screening of Jackie Brown, which will be preceded by a Q&A between Grier and Simon Doonan. There are tickets still available and you can check the complete movie schedule here.

 

Teyana Taylor does your nails:
adidas

Harlem singer Teyana Taylor teamed up with BK nail artist Christina Rinaldi this weekend for the Good Luck Charm pop-up nail salon at the new Adidas Originals event space at 365 Broadway. Those who love nail art can stop by for a limited-edition mani on Friday from 4:00PM to 8:00PM, on Saturday and Sunday from 12:00PM to 10:00PM. Click here to learn more.

 

Discover Healthy Foundation with Beauty Blogger Felicia Benson:

Discover Healthy Foundation with Beauty Blogger Felicia Benson
Beauty expert Felicia Walker Benson of This That Beauty Blog shows you how to find your ideal shade and foundation formula. Felicia is a highly sought after beauty authority and she will surely you up with the perfect foundation.  Find her today, March 15 at the Sephora Times Square, 1500 Broadway at 43rd Street from 5:00PM-7:00PM

Saturday:

Lift Off:
surface to air
This is the prefect time to score up to 75% off of parisian-cool rags, accessories and shoes. The Surface to Air sample sale continues until the 17th. Friday, March 15: 10:00AM-7:00PM, Saturday, March 16: 10:00AM-7:00PM, Sunday, March 17: 10:00AM-5:00PM;Location: 260 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10001

Sunday:

Sunday Winter Jazz Brunch at Upstairs at the Kimberly Hotel:the-kimberly-hotel-new-york-upstairs-rooftop-560

Join Upstairs at the Kimberly Hotel for the last installment of their Winter Jazz Brunch. This takes brunch to a grown and sexy level. When: Sunday, March 17,12:00PM – 3:00PM, Where:Upstairs at the Kimberly Hotel, 145 East 50th Street, New York, NY 10022

Talib Kweli w/ Cory Mo (LIVE full band show!):

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Talib Kweli is your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper. He is a stable of hip-hop and has been able to make music that entertains and educates. On Sunday, he will perform with a full live band at Brooklyn Bowl. Sunday, March 17, Doors: 6:00PM/ Show: 9:00PM, Tickets ($15) available at the door only. Brooklyn Bowl-61 Wythe Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11211

You’ve Got Fly: Inbox Scan

13 Mar

You’ve got mail! Fly picks from my inbox.

CHLOE

Barneys: It’s Back! Shop the Iconic Chloé Paddington Bag (pictured)

Nasty Gal: Bits and pieces we’re losing it for

H&M: Perfect spring blazers + 25% off when you purchase pants

Brooklyn Based: Three Ways to Welcome Spring

Fly Fashion: Five Clothing Items That Might Make You A Basic Bish

12 Mar

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There are certain clothing items that might make you get the side-eye from a fashionista, so why not use spring as the best reason to go through your closet and remove my top five clothing items that might make you a basic bish. Let this article serve as a guide to elevate your style from basic to fly.

 

1. TrukFit- When worn you give off the perception that you have sucked someone off for some TrukFit. Unless you’re Lil’ Wayne or at the skate park, steer clear of TrukFit.

2. Basketball wives earrings- Nothing says basic more than a pair of ginormous hoop earrings with acrylic rhinestone balls. Basketball wives earrings should stay at your local beauty supply store or on Fulton Street in downtown Brooklyn but not on your jewelry stand.

3. Fine Ass Girls (FAGS) clothing line- Speaking of Basketball wives if you’re rocking Draya Michele’s Fine Ass Girls (FAGS) clothing line than chances that you’ll actually become a BBW is slim to none. Keep in mind; real fine ass women don’t need a shirt to state it.

4. Bandage dress- Whether it’s a Hervé Léger or a dress from Rainbow, there are other outfits to rock to the club so give the bandage dress some breathing room and a rest.

5. Barbie necklace- Grown women don’t have time for games so don’t wear a necklace that references a plastic toy.